Calling all female KTM riders!

firecracker22

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#1
Hello, as you all know I recently bought a 01 EXC 200. Well, I love the bike and I've been riding a lot of mx as well as woods. I just have some questions on ergonomics.

I am 5'7" and fairly long-legged--I wear a 34" inseam in jeans. Now we moved the bars back one position, but I still cannot get comfortable on the bike in some situations. I find myself hunching over a lot causing my lower back and stomach muscles to tire, cramp and get extremely sore. I'm not sure exactly what to do. I do stand up a lot. The hardest thing is going up hills--standing up, keeping my weight forward, knees pressed against the shrouds, elbows up and not doing the death grip thing is awkward. I always end up either dropping my elbows causing arm pump or shifting my weight too far back causing back pain.

What am I doing wrong? What has worked for all of you as far as bar height, position, bend and width? It just feels wrong.
 
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#2
Hi Firecracker! When I first got my bike I took it to the IMS van at the races to have my steering stabilizer put on. The first thing they did after installing my stabilizer was to have me sit on the seat and practice with the different handlebar positions. As it turned out, the farthest position back--towards the rider, was the most comfortable for me.

I too am small for a full-size bike. I am 5'2, not 5'7 so therefore, you might want to play around with this a little. If you already have it one setting back & don't feel comfortable, maybe you should go back one notch farther & if that still doesn't do it, then go all the way to the third notch.

As far as the bars themselves, they are Maguras (sp?) and they feel just like Pro Tapers to me which I am used to, so I have not changed them.

You should definitely have a good suspension shop set up the suspension for your weight & type of riding you do.


P.S. Congrats on the new KTM! :)
 

bud

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#3
Not female or ktm riding, but...

Re sore back and stomach, do you wear a kidney belt? Helps for me. As some guys have said, working on ab strength will help too. As for your bar position, it sounds like you need higher bars... Then again don't take my word for it. Some taller guys I have ridden with like the stock ktm bars, though they feel horribly cramped to me :silly:.
 

firecracker22

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#4
Thanks, KTMster! It's such a great bike. :)

I do normally wear a kidney belt though I haven't been able to find it lately. I have no idea where it went. I almost bought a new one but if I did I'd immediately find my old one! I do need to get one though.

As far bar risers, I didn't think I was a tall enough rider to need them. I guess my arms and legs are long enough maybe I do--Steve put them on his RM and he's only 2-3 inches taller than me. I'd like to shorten the bars too and see if that helps--I've always ridden with full size bars, even on the XR, so maybe if they were shorter that would help.

Thanks all for the ideas.
 
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#5
First of all if you are pushing your knees tight to the shroud then that is your first mistake. (most people make this mistake) Your feet should be on the center of the pegs and you should NEVER have your knees touching anything. I will ride your bike when we get together in Idaho and when I put you on my trials bike I will teach you the correct technique. You won't like this but that is one thing I like about the GG beter than the KTM. The GG has much better ergonomics for a person who stands a lot. I think we can work this out.
 
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#6
Firecracker, I have a '01 KTM 250 EXC, and have also been going through much difficulties in getting my bike setup so it is comfortable for me. I am 5'8" and about 33" inseam. The bike is still not quite right, but I will tell you what I've done so far.
1. Replace stock handlebars. I've got CR Hi Renthal's on now, and just replacing the bars made an immediate improvement in comfort and how fast I could go in the tight woods. This alleviated a lot of arm pain for me. These bars have a little more pullback than stock, but still not quite enough for me for the woods, so I'll be replacing these with another bend, most likely the Renthal Mini Racer special editions.
2. Cut the handlebars down to 30" MX, 28" for enduros. It's all about leverage, and 32" may be ok for most men, but women have narrower shoulders and the bars should be proportional. Sit on the bike with your eyes closed, and reach forward for a comfortable riding position. Open your eyes and see where your hands are, this is a good idea where the bars should be. Before cutting, make sure there's enough room for the controls to fit on bar and be adjusted properly. You can try different widths on a pair of junked bars just to see how it feels.
I have the handlebar clamps in #2 (stock) position, and think its ok, but I may move it forward and back just to see how it feels. Also rotating the bars forward or back in the clamps has a big effect. Start with a neutral position, mark it with a magic marker, then rotate bars back or forward in small increments to see what you like.
3. Replaced the fork and shock springs. Stock ones were too stiff for my weight, I put on ones off a 200 MXC. Much better! Set up the compression/rebound for my type of riding (tight sandy trails/whoops in one area, and rocks/hills in another). Generally I make the suspension soft as possible so I only bottom the suspension on the biggest hits.
4. The Seat. sigh...... I have been spending waaay to much money trying to get this seat rideable. It sure wasn't made for women, at least not for me. The top is too narrow, and instead of my sit bones (what are they called? pelvis bones?) sitting ON the seat, they sit on the sloping sides, and this has caused alot of soreness or internal bone bruise, its hard to explain. First I tried the soft KTM foam, this has the same shape. It was worse, I sunk in so far like sitting on the couch. The firm foam is much better. I have order a seat foam from http://www.gutsracing.com that is wider on top and a flatter profile. They developed it for Malcolm Smith. I didn't get it yet, should be here in a couple of days. Also I replaced the stock seat cover with a vinyl one also from guts, riding a gripper seat in the woods is just too hard to move around on the bike.
5. Ordered a folding brake pedal tip from erider. The stock one is too small and wrong shape, my foot kept sliding off the brake in crucial situations, causing a few head-ons with trees. brake pedal should arrive in a few days.

Well so far these are the comfort changes I've made to set the bike up. It takes a while to get it done right, mostly it is making a change in suspension or handlebar position, then riding it and seeing if it is better or worse, then making another change, riding it, etc. Once the bike is right, there is no feeling like it, you can hammer in the races and not even think about the bike, you are just flowing with the bike.

Good luck firecracker, please post on your progress.
 

LoriKTM

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#7
Well, FWIW, here's what I've done. I tweaked (ok, bent!) the stock handlebars on my bike at the last race, so those had to go. I replaced them with a CR-Hi bend as well. I cut down the bars 1/2" on each end, and I think they are just under 30" overall now. I use the Pro-Grip soft compound grips. I've adjusted the shifter lever, lower than stock. (Don't go too low! You will hit the frame rails when trying to shift into 1st.) Moving the shift lever helped tremendously with shifting while standing. Now I just need to move the brake pedal.
After I installed the new handlebars, I sat on the bike in riding position (and standing position) and adjusted the levers and rotated the handlebars forward a bit. Dave rode the bike and he suggested raising the forks in the triple clamps just a bit, to better weight the front end. (The fork tubes had been even with the triple clamps). So I raised the forks by 2mm.

Using this setup, I just finished riding 117 miles in two days in Canada. Extreme mixture of super tight rocky trail, and wide open fire road, and everything in between. I don't know if it was me, or the bike setup, but I rode better and faster than I ever had before. I only had a little bit of arm pump on the first day, and some minor soreness (monkey butt) after day 2, which I expected after that much time in the saddle.
Keep trying different things, FC. And test ride as much as possible in between making changes!
 

firecracker22

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#8
Thanks again for the ideas. When we get back from Idaho we will have more time to do suspension and jetting and setup stuff. I haven’t bent the stock bars yet (I’m shocked) so I was trying to avoid replacing them until I do—I just don’t have a whole lot of money. I had CR Hi bend on the XR and never had this problem—but that thing was a TOTALLY different bike and I had other problems. I want to try to round off the sharp corners of the seat foam and Steve said we can drill holes in it to soften it a bit. That thing is pretty brutal. My "sit bones" ache too after a long day of riding.

I have the bars 1 position back towards me. We haven’t flipped the mount over yet to try the other 2 positions. I do want to cut them down, as they are stock bars I don’t think it’ll be too painful to start hacking on them, and since I have Rally 2 guards on there, that adds about 1/2 an inch on either side too.

I do want to do the springs but as I want to ride mx as well as woods I don’t want to go too soft. I’m not rider enough to really tell the difference when I play with the clickers and make a few laps. I need an expert to go to the track with me and help me figure it out and that’s a huge favor to ask of someone—especially when the only suspension tech I know who is willing to help me out has been trying to get in my pants and I don’t want to encourage him or let him think he has an opening. :rolleyes:

I thought that gripping the tank/shroud with knees is the correct way to ride? I know that if I remember to, it makes cornering and jumping while standing much easier.

I know a lot of my problems also stem from bad riding habits too. I just am trying to figure out the ergos to help. Now I know why good riders spend so much time fiddling with tiny adjustments! On the XR it didn’t matter so I never bothered with anything. Those don’t really HAVE "ergonomics."
 
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#9
Firecracker,

Next time the motorcross is on the TV really spend some time watching Carmicheal or McGrath ride and you will see that in MOST Cases thye do not grip with the knees. The correct way to turn a bike is by applying pressure to the foot pegs and leaning the bike. If your knees are squeezing the tank then you can't push pressure to make the turn. This is why trials is so good at helping you. My Hero, Kerrie Brokaw is a National Trials rider and she can also smoke most any guy on an enduro bike. (Even at age 41) The reason is because she knows proper technique and does not fight the bike. When we hook up you will quickly learn this. I am excited to teach you some stuff because you will go home and will be able to do a lot more. As for the KTM set up I think just a few modificaions will make a huge difference and I can help you with those. The KTM bar is actually a great bar and you should not need to replace it. That is one thing I HAD to change on the GG. That is the only bad thing about a GG, the stock bars are very flat. I will bring my tape measure (I hope I remember) and we will set up your sag and adjust your rear suspension. Have you changed the front forks so they have 5 weight oil in them and not the 7 weight? Also did you put a lighter rear spring for your weight? We will get it all worked out.
 

firecracker22

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#10
Steve and I are going to do the suspension as soon as we get back. He has a sag tool, we’ve just forgotten it every time we go to the track together. The springs may have to wait—money is a bit of an issue right now and I can’t expect Steve to pay for things like that. I’m sure he will want to change the oil as he prefers to change the stock oil asap anyway. You said 5w is preferable to 7w? Is that for forks, shock or both?

Thanks for your willingness to help! Anything to get faster! I have a real drive to go kick some butt this year and race Idaho myself next year!
 

AJ Waggoner

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#11
FC -

I think the bar position and seat thing should be the ticket for the lower back starain and things youve mentioned.

As far as gripping the bike with your knees..I'd have to say I consider it the most important thing..but thats a MX standpoint.
It allows you to use MUCH less upper body strenght and overall less energy .
Its how a 135 pound flea can ride a CR500 for hours without tiring.
Almost any riding technique book will stress this.
I guarantee you RC and MC use it, but in cornering it just the OUTSIDE knee pushin the shroud towards the ground,try it and you wil feel the bike grip better.

Obviuosly there are many situations you should be loose on the bike as well.
and in Trials and enduro situiuations with large rocks and slow cornering over tight obsticles "Loosekneed" is a the way to go.
The more you ride the more youll learn where to applly which technique.
 
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#12
For motoenduro

Hey Motoenduro,
Any interest in selling the springs you took out of your 250? I have a 200MXC and am needing some slightly stiffer springs. Do you know what rate they are? Please be aware that I am a male of the species and have no right posting in this thread, but i just thought I'd give it a shot. e-mail me or post a reply. Thanks, Jim
 
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#13
Hey Jazzy, all forums as far as I know on DRN are open forums. Post whatever you want & you do have a right to do so--as long as it is PC that is. :p I have some stiff springs off my KTM, what'a ya lookin' fer? :cool:
 

MotoEnduro

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#14
Jazzy of course you can post here, its all open forums!
Regarding the springs, I don't think I will sell them, only for the reason if/when I ever sell this bike and buy another KTM I might need the softer springs and don't want to have to buy them again!
Just for your info, the shock spring is PDS2, and the fork springs are .40
 

MIKE

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#15
Hey firecracker, Mike here in colfax,

Go ahead and try the bar position changes, and cut them narrower for sure, do a few push ups...measure the width from outside of each hand. this would be your ideal bar width, unfortunately most bars are limited on the amount you can cut off by the amount of area you need for the controls, don't cut off more than a 1/2" on each end or there won't be enough room with your rally 2's. As far as the seat goes, get some padded riding shorts for under your riding pants, the bicycle ones are OK but the motorcycle padded shorts have alot better padding...you will get used to the seat and it will help if you stand more... as much as possible, you are still getting used to sitting "on" a KTM instead of "in" the XR. Don't get in a big hurry to make alot of other changes yet, much of about what you don't like is the fact that it's a different bike, doesn't turn the same and it has more power... you have to hold on better now and it takes more strength. As far as not holding on with you legs, try not holding on through a fast whoop section, you might find youself on your nose. Hold on tight at times and not so tight..or at all at other times, the faster you go the more you will have to hold on, hold on from the sides of your feet on up. Set suspension the best you can for your weight. Ride, ride, ride, and all will be good, it just take time.

MIKE 2000 KTM 300MXC eastern wash.